2-time WPIAL spirit champion Pine-Richland turns attention to state competition
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After winning the Class AAA title at the inaugural WPIAL competitive spirit championships a year ago, the target was certainly on the backs of the Pine-Richland Rams at this year's event.
Yet, the Rams were able to repeat as Class AAA champions on Saturday in North Hills Middle School, with an event-leading 257.5 points.
“The pressure was on us after (winning) the first time, so I was so proud of them for what they did,” Pine-Richland coach Danielle Hitson said. “They were focused, they knew what they had to do, and they definitely did it.”
The Rams advanced to the PIAA championships Jan. 24 and 25 in Hershey's Giant Center. They will be joined by 15 other qualifying teams from the WPIAL competition, including Class AA champion Highlands and Class A winner Chartiers-Houston.
Competing in its first WPIAL competitive spirit event, Highlands coach Marissa Sorg was very pleased with her team's output.
“I'm so excited, especially because we've never been to anything like this before,” Sorg said. “We wanted to just qualify for Hershey. We never even imagined we could win, so we're just super excited.”
Also winning the small-squad classification, Pine-Richland is among six teams — Butler, Shaler, Chartiers-Houston, Franklin Regional and Hampton — that automatically advance to the PIAA championships based on team size.
From the medium-squad group, North Allegheny, Thomas Jefferson, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Baldwin and Central Valley advanced while Norwin, Neshannock and Elizabeth Forward join Highlands as qualifiers from the large-squad division.
While Hitson and the Rams were pleased with their efforts, their next goal is to claim the PIAA title at the end of the month, a mark that eluded them last season.
“Last year, we came in as runners-up, so this year we want to come in first,” she said.
Highlands' expectations are comparatively a bit tempered due to its lack of competitive experience, but it still heads to Hershey with a goal in place.
“I think that the goal they want is to make it to finals at states,” Hitson said. “... Our goal this year — since it's our first year — is just the finals.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Motorcyclist injured in Westmoreland flown to Pittsburgh
- Dude’s The Man captures Adios at The Meadows
- Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
- Monongahela uses modern technology to connect people to the city’s historic past
- 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
- 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
- Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
- Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
- Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
- Dek hockey summer camp ranks swell thanks to social media
- Steelers training camp has California University link